Lecture, Erica de Greef: (Un)foldings and (Re)Wordings: Fashioning (k)new Narratives, 2023

Erica de Greef: (Un)foldings and (Re)Wordings: Fashioning (k)new Narratives* 

*(k)new = known to us, yet new / novel for others

CIMO Centre, 17/10 at 7 pm


In this talk, South African curator and academic Dr Erica de Greef introduces The Fold, a creative research project aimed at reframing archives, repositioning indigenous practices, and re-wording (k)new narratives. The Fold brings into focus that which has been folded away. As the co-founder of the African Fashion Research Institute (together with Lesiba Mabitsela), de Greef shares their current research projects that seek out and explore the digital possibilities of fold-words, foldings, unfoldings and refoldings, reframing fashion as a site for resisting erasures, remembering cultures and shifting perceptions of contemporary African Fashion Studies. 

Folds allow fabrics to take form. At the same time, they are keepers of knowledge, meanings, cultures and histories. Folds are archives of multiple dimensions, unfolding in many directions. Our interest in these objects – and practices – lies in their ever-shifting capacities to express knowledge, resist erasure and remember culture.


Dr. Erica de Greef is a writer, curator, lecturer, and cofounder of the African Fashion Research Institute in South Africa, graduating with a PhD in African Studies from the University of Cape Town in 2018. She has published articles in Fashion Theory, International Journal for Fashion Studies, Africa è Mediterraneo, and other journals, and has chapters in Fashion and Politics, Slow Fashion, Creating African Fashion Histories, and more. Erica co-edited Rethinking Fashion Globalisation (Bloomsbury, 2021) with Dr. Sarah Cheang and Professor Yoko Takagi, and is an advisory board member of the Research Collective for Decoloniality and Fashion and currently a Research Fellow at the University of South Africa.


The African Fashion Research Institute was founded in 2019 in South Africa by Lesiba Mabitsela and Dr Erica de Greef. Our work is shaped by the urgent and overdue need to remember, rethink, and rewrite fashion histories that speak to afro-centric ways of wearing, knowing, making, and styling often absent in fashion books, exhibitions, economies and imaginations. Our recent project follows folds, pleats and creases in African fashion as a route to (k)new narratives and as forms of engagement with different communities, knowledge-makers and creatives across the continent. The Fold is supported the British Council and National Arts Art Council, South Africa and by pan-African partners and collaborators.



The project is supported by: the City of Zagreb and the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia.


Photo: Bonagni Tau